Cover Letters & ROI


Someone recently asked for my take on cover letters - and while in the past I'd say they're largely pointless unless they provide details your resume cannot (a personal link to the company, an employee, the product - or best of all, some specific experience that would be invaluable to the organization) this current job market has me re-evaluating.

I still believe (based on data) that many cover letters will get ignored - when volume of applicants go up, hiring managers don't have the time to read them all. They'll prioritize the resume first, then - if the candidate looks appealing - they may gloss over the cover letter. They may then read the cover letter in more depth in advance of the interview - but at that point, the ball's already in motion.

Below 1,000 employees and your cover letter will have greater impact than above 1,000 employees. The smaller the company, the more they'll want to have information about their candidates, rely a lot more on trust, and build a personal connection early. They'll be more meaningful to senior staff - especially when you have something particularly notable to share. Above 1,000 and you're more likely safe to just skip writing one since you're more likely going through an internal or external recruitment team first before landing in front of the hiring manager (where, once again, the ball is already in motion for a candidate - making a cover letter's impact more trivial).


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